We are all Jon Snow. Maybe. If modern science has anything to say about it.
As the Telegraph reported, a company called Bioquark has recently been given the green light to research neural regeneration using stem cells and 20 brain-dead people in an Indian hospital. The biotech company's ReAnima Project will take its cue from other animal species that can restore brain life even after suffering severe damage to their central nervous systems.
"With amphibians, you can blow their brains apart, in some case remove them entirely, and the brain grows back," Bioquark CEO Ira Pastor said in a recent interview. "We're focusing on developing proteins and other biomolecules to recapitulate these dynamics in humans."
When a person's brain ceases to function, that doesn't necessarily mean their bodies stop working, too. During phase one of ReAnima, "First In Human Neuro-Regeneration & Neuro-Reanimation," researchers will inject the spinal cords of the trial patients, all of whom are on life support, with "stem cells and a cocktail of peptides" twice a week for six weeks, according to the Telegraph. They'll also be "deploying lasers and nerve stimulation techniques" and hope that therapy will restore function to the patients' brain stems, ideally in two to three months.
Researchers will be observing progress by scanning the involved individuals' brain. If they can get the base of the brain stems working again, the bodies will be able to breathe and sustain heartbeats on their own, the first move toward bringing them back to life.
"This represents the first trial of its kind and another step toward the eventual reversal of death in our lifetime," Pastor told the Telegraph.